The trail is a 364-mile loop across the Appalachian Mountains that winds through four national forests and embraces some of the South's most beautiful scenery. Each season offers a different display of colors, wildlife and natural beauty.
In the Spring, visitors are awed by the unique and colorful wildflower displays abundant along the roadside. Brown-eyed Susans and delicate yellow Lady Slippers sway in the gentle spring breeze, and flowering trees and shrubs cover the hills and valleys. The trail boasts of the only songbird management area in Georgia, providing a haven for species such as the Yellow-Breasted Chat and the Carolina Wren.Summer offers a warm and welcoming invitation for hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, whitewater rafting, or simply exploring the great and bountiful outdoors.Winter provides the opportunity to ski down the slopes, or enjoy the serenity and beauty of snow-peaked mountains, sparkling clear waterfalls, and gorgeous sunsets. Even Mother Nature is awestruck at her handiwork along the trail in Autumn. The clear blue sky provides the perfect canvas for spectacular forests ablaze with rich colors of red, orange, green and gold.
Adventure seekers will enjoy paddling through class 1-5 rapids on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, which forms the border between Georgia and South Carolina. They can even chart the same course as Olympic kayakers on the Ocoee River in Tennessee - site of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Events.
Visitors seeking a more reflective experience can take a quiet hike through one of the four national forests that border the Southern Highroads. The largest federally owned wilderness in the Southeast, the Cohutta Wilderness stretches from the North Georgia mountains into the remote and rocky region of Tennessee. The trip would not be complete without exploring the majesty and mystery of the Great Smoky Mountains. Trails range in difficulty and length to accommodate leisurely strolls or provide a challenge for the serious hiker. Picnic sites dot the landscape and offer some of the most exquisite views in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Waterfalls thunder over rocky precipices and offer a fine mist to cool hikers on warm summer days.
The Southern Highroads is also an important historical route that blends history and legends from the region's rich and intriguing past. Ancient homeland of the Cherokee Nation, the route includes the Chieftain's Trail, commemorating the "Trail of Tears". Visitors can uncover the legends told by Cherokee Indians on why the "bald" mountains exist, and trace the early settlers' paths as they searched for gold, farmed the land, and carved out a place to call home.
The region is home to a number of old railroad towns and some of the oldest red brick courthouses in the country. Many of the buildings in the area are on the National Historic Register. History enthusiasts will also enjoy exploring the important landmarks of the numerous Civil War battles waged in these mountains.
Two worlds collide beautifully with the combination of ancient historical sites and modern day conveniences. Accommodations range from quaint cottages and camping to luxury cabin rental, unique bed and breakfasts, or modern hotels complete with conference centers and all other amenities. Restaurants offer traditional southern dishes as well as the finest steaks and seafood. The wonderful down-home southern cooking is reason enough to pay a visit. Southern dishes like hominy, grits, fried chicken, cornbread and world-class barbecue make your taste buds stand to attention. Local trout is another delicious specialty that should not be missed.
Arts and entertainment is another example of old and new converging. There are a number of museums and art galleries in the region. Fine arts festivals, concerts, fairs and exhibits are going on most months of the year. Appalachian arts and crafts are available for the entire family in many small country stores, quaint shops and galleries along the route.
Wherever you go along the Trail, you will find friendly faces that reflect the true spirit of the world-famous Southern mountain hospitality. With all that it has to offer, the Southern Highroads Trail still has room to roam and quiet secluded spots to "get away from it all". Come experience the best the South has to offer. Come experience the Southern Highroads!